Owen & Mzee

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship
by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff,& Dr. Paula Kahumbu
photographs by Peter Greste

When a baby hippo is left stranded after a tsunami, a community comes together to rescue the young animal. Unable to return to the wild, he is brought to a sanctuary. It is there the hippo, named Owen, is drawn to a 130 year-old tortoise named Mzee. Although initially a reluctant (and occasionally unwilling) friend, Mzee warms up to Owen the two form a wonderful friendship!

This book was mentioned to me by one of my 5th graders. Recently, he asked me if I had this book and, while it wasn’t at the school he attended, I did have it at my other school (I’m the librarian at two schools). I told him I’d bring it over to him and, during the time between, I took the opportunity to read it and was happy I did!  It’s a wonderful story full of beautiful photographs that will have many kids going “awww”!

I love stories of unusual animal friendships! Owen and Mzee definitely have an unique, adorable bond. I can see using this book in a friendship themed unit with similar stories of unlikely animal bonds.


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